Alamosa Immunization Coalition reminds young adults (ages 19-26) that the need for vaccination does not end in childhood. Vaccines are recommended throughout our lives based on age, lifestyle, occupation, travel, medical conditions and previous vaccination history. Even if you were vaccinated at a younger age, the immunity from those vaccines can wear off, or the virus or bacteria that the vaccine protects against may change.
Vaccines: Safe & Cost-Effective
Vaccines are among the safest and most cost-effective ways to prevent disease. They are thoroughly tested before licensing and carefully monitored even after they are licensed to ensure that they are very safe. Side effects from vaccines are usually minor and temporary, such as soreness at the injection site or a slight fever which goes away in a few days. Serious and long term effects are rare.
Those getting ready for college should make sure that they are up to date on all doses of the recommended vaccines—both to protect themselves and others around them. Because some diseases can spread quickly in settings like college dorms and classrooms, many college and universities have vaccination requirements for college admission.
Vaccines that are recommended for young adults are Tdap, flu, HPV, and meningococcal vaccine.
- Tdap protects against tetanus, diphtheria and pertussis (whooping cough). Every adult should get the Tdap vaccine once and then have a Td (tetanus and diphtheria) booster every 10 years. Recommendations about Tdap have changed over the last several years as several states including Colorado have had epidemic levels of whooping cough. Tdap immunization of all adults is especially important to decrease the amount of whooping cough illness in the community and therefore prevent infants from getting whooping cough.
- Everyone age 6 months and older should have flu vaccine every year.
- HPV vaccine immunizes against four of the Human Papilloma viruses.
The three-dose series of HPV vaccine is recommended for both males and females at or around age 11. Young men and women who have not started or finished the HPV series may be vaccinated through age 26.
- Meningococcal vaccine is also recommended for adolescents. Those who received it before age 16 should get a booster dose four years later. Many colleges require freshman students to have meningococcal vaccine. Meningococcal disease can result in death in as little as 48 hours; those surviving often end up with limb amputations.
Where to Get Vaccinated
Vaccines are available at private doctor offices and other locations such as pharmacies and public health departments.
Partners in the Immunization Coalition that can provide more information about immunizations are Alamosa County Public Health, Costilla County Public Health, SLV Health Physician Services, and Valley-Wide Health Systems.